Friday, July 8, 2011

Speculation Station: Is Nate Marquardt Strikeforce's "Mystery Welterweight Signee" or Bellator's Latest Prospect?

Despite being released from the UFC following a controversial case involving testosterone replacement therapy, middleweight fighter Nate Marquardt continues to grace the headlines. The latest spurt of juicy Marquardt news places Nate 'The Great' at the center of talks with Bellator Fighting Championships. cited ESPN Insider's coverage on the situation:

"ESPN is hearing from a source inside Bellator, who contends the company actually tendered an offer to Marquardt. In addition, reports indicate Bellator was/is interested in having him compete at middleweight."

This report could eliminate the possibility that the UFC's sister promotion, Strikeforce, was entertaining the idea of signing Marquardt. Earlier this week Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker teased of a big welterweight signing -- one who could see an immediate title shot. He did not reveal any names, but the news definitely got the rumor mill churning. Nate Marquardt's name was among several others speculated to sign with Strikeforce along with Ben Askren, Ryan Ford, and John Alessio.

News that Bellator could be drafting contracts for Nate Marquardt make this whole situation so much more interesting, especially since he has recently been called out by two Bellator champions -- BFC Welterweight champ Ben Askren and BFC Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard.
Ben Askren doesn't like cheaters, and he made it known on Twitter:
"You are a cheater, not once, but frequently. Stop cheating, come to Bellator and I will crush you,"
Lombard also took to Twitter with his Marquardt call-out:
"I want this fight!"
"...Nate don't wanna fight me is not excuses to fight me he is out of the UFC."
According to BloodyElbow's article, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has expressed interest in Marquardt, "but claimed that they had not yet had any formal talks or made an offer."

If you ask me, although no formal arrangements have been made, just the idea that Bellator would consider signing Marquardt almost confirms that Strikeforce was never interested in signing him. Yes, Dana White did firmly state that Marquardt would never fight for the UFC again, and many speculators interpreted that to mean the just UFC, not Strikeforce. However, when it comes to serious Zuffa business like the decision to cut Nate Marquardt, the affects are all-inclusive.

I don't know who Strikeforce is looking to sign, but I'm certain it's not Nate Marquardt. But, what if Strikeforce signs Ben Askren and Bellator signs Nate? Now, that would be something.

Updates as they come. Until then, to be continued...

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I am reposting the "Mystery Strikeforce Welterweight Signing" Poll from earlier this week. So far, poll results show that most fans believe Ben Askren will sign with Strikeforce. I'm not sure if this new news changes anything, but if you haven't voted here's your chance.

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